Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’
First of all, I’d like to say this has been a crazy week. I have had such a “Yankee hangover” (I guess you could call it). Opening Day took everything out of me; I had absolutely nothing left at the end of the day, I was exhausted.
But at least it wasn’t for nothing. It was one of the best days I can remember.
After the Yankees dropped a 5-3 decision yesterday, they bounced back and beat the Angels 6-2 on Thursday. With the win, the Yanks took the Opening Series from the Angels, two games to one.
Today was not just any ordinary day in baseball. Today, every player on all 30 teams wore the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, the legendary Brooklyn Dodger who broke the MLB color barrier on this date in 1947.
The tradition of Jackie Robinson day has been a part of Major League Baseball since 2007, yet has lasted since 1997 when the number 42 was universally retired throughout MLB. Every player who was still wearing the number was able to keep wearing it, as they were grandfathered in. In other words, if you had 42, you could keep wearing it, but it was no longer available to any other player.
Only 11 players were wearing 42 at the time it was retired.
Mariano Rivera is the only player out of those 11 who is still playing the game. Hence, he will be the last player to ever wear the number 42. People often ask why Rivera is the only one allowed to wear 42.
Well, there’s your answer.
Before the game tonight, Robinson’s widow Rachel was on hand to throw out the first pitch. I find it so wonderful that she tossed the first pitch from Yankee Stadium. She could have just as easily been in Los Angeles and thrown out the first pitch from Dodgers Stadium.
As for the actual game…
It turned out to be the “Robinson Cano Hitting Show,” if you will. The young second baseman–named after Jackie–put on a home run clinic, belting two long balls out of Yankee Stadium.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Cano clubbed a screaming line drive to right field. The ball landed in the short porch for a solo homer, and Cano knotted the game at 1-1.
Later in the bottom of the fifth with one man on, Cano was at it again. He smashed yet another home run to right-center field, putting the Yankees up 6-1 at the end of five innings.
Cano now has a team-leading four home runs on the year and nine RBIs.
Derek Jeter also smacked a home run, a solo shot in the bottom of the third. It was Jeter’s second home run of the season, as his first long ball came on Tuesday afternoon in the home opener.
Jeter also knocked Curtis Granderson with an RBI double in the fourth.
Speaking of Granderson, he had quite a day at the plate. The Yanks’ center fielder pounded out two triples in as many at-bats. His first triple in the bottom of the fourth drove in Marcus Thames, which gave the Yankees a 4-1 edge.
I thought it was a good sign that Granderson hit off a good left-handed pitcher on Scott Kazmir. Everybody always complains how Granderson struggles against lefties, so the fact that he got around on a lefty of Kazmir’s caliber is hopefully a sign of improvement for the future.
I also have to hand it to Granderson for making a brilliant outfield assist. He nailed Hideki Matsui at home plate to end the top of the fourth, showing off his stellar defense on the field.
Granderson may have gunned Matsui out at home, but he showed the Yankees what they are missing in the top of the second.
The 2009 World Series MVP smacked a solo homer off his former teammate Phil Hughes, his third home run of the season; a shot that landed in the Yankee bullpen. It was Matsui’s first hit of the series, as he went a combined 0-for-9 in the last two games prior to that at-bat.
If you ask me, Matsui was sending a message. Basically telling the Yankees, “This is what you are missing. And you should have paid me.”
It kind of reminded me of June 2003, when Tino Martinez homered twice off Andy Pettitte as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Yankee crowed roared for Martinez and was happy to see their former hero go deep. In Martinez’s words, Pettitte was “a bit flustered after the home run.”
The same thing happened with Matsui tonight.
Thousands of people on hand cheered for Matsui after he went yard, and that same look Pettitte had in 2003 was on Hughes’s face tonight. Hughes looked a bit flustered after Matsui took him deep.
I was honestly happy for him. I miss him as a member of the Yankees. He was so valuable to the team and proved it last year. In fact, on Tuesday at the game during his first at-bat in Yankee Stadium as an Angel, I overheard an interesting comment from one of the Yankee fans.
“I really want Matsui to hit a home run right here,” he said. “I want him to go deep, just to show the Yankees how they should have gone after him and gotten him back.”
It may not have come Tuesday, but tonight, Matsui sent the message.
Howard Kendrick grounded out to first in the top of the sixth, allowing Torii Hunter to score, giving Los Angeles their second run.
On the mound, Hughes pitched effectively. The 24 year-old hurler tossed five-plus innings of work. He scattered two earned runs on three hits, walked five, and struck out six. For his efforts, he earned his first win of 2010.
Overall, I saw a lot of good out of Hughes tonight. For a pitcher who barely spent any time in the starting rotation last season, he did very well. The walks were a little bit of an issue, but his breaking ball was absolutely disgusting. His fastball was dancing all over the place and he showed great movement on each of his pitches.
Hughes is going to win a lot of games he pitches the way he did tonight.
Joba Chamberlain tossed a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in relief tonight, walking one and fanning one along the way. Like Hughes, Chamberlain looked very good and I expect his fine pitching to continue. His fastball wasn’t as live as it was against the Red Sox, but as long as he is getting guys out, everything is fine with me.
Rivera notched his fourth save of the year and once again ended the game. He’s on pace for (I would say) about 45 saves this year. I have a feeling he will reach it. He always does.
It was a very good night for the Yankees. They improved their record to 6-3 and will open up a three-game series against the Texas Rangers this weekend.
CC Sabathia (1-0, 3.46 ERA) will face C.J. Wilson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Friday night.
Luck: a force that brings good fortune or adversity. Yankee legend Lou Gehrig once claimed to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Yesterday afternoon, I felt I was the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
I was fortunate enough to spend the day with my friends and family at Yankee Stadium for the Bronx Bombers’ home opener against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Not only was it their home opener, it was their ring ceremony, held to commemorate their 2009 World Series Championship.
After a beautiful ceremony, the Yankees beat the Angels, 7-5.
But the day wasn’t just about RBIs, base hits, and runs scored. It wasn’t just about the Yankees receiving their championship rings. It went far beyond anything that anyone can really understand. Overall, it was a wonderful experience; one I will never forget.
A Meaningful Day
My cousin Thomas, who invited me and my other cousin Krystina to the game, could not have been more excited for Opening Day. He got the tickets and graciously invited us to this historic game. His father (my Uncle John) recently passed away. I know that Thomas would have loved nothing more than to share the day with his dad.
Since his dad could not be there, I find it so honorable that he wanted me there to share the day with him. I could not have felt better. The fact that he asked me to go with him nearly drove me to tears.
And it didn’t get any easier when we reached the ballpark.
Getting off the train, we noticed the old Yankee Stadium. The building is nearly torn down completely. It was an unbelievable sight to behold. I can remember so many great and meaningful memories for me in that Stadium, and my only thought was, “is it really right for them to just gut it and rip it down?”
I guess they had to do it, but it didn’t make me feel very good. I could tell Thomas was taken back by the whole thing; he was as overwhelmed as I was. The same building where Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and countless other Yankee legends made history is now in shambles; it’s merely a skeleton of what used to be a beautiful ballpark.
Heartbreaking, to say the least.
When we got inside the new Stadium, it was madness. Everywhere you looked the words, “2009 World Series Champions” were visible. The Great Hall was buzzing with Yankee fans, all ready to watch the team accept their 27th World Title.
Thomas, Krystina, and I went down to the field level. There we met up with Thomas’s sister (another one of my cousins) Ashley, who went to the game with her friend Matthew. We took a picture together–in my mind, the best picture I took all day. I took a ridiculous amount of photos of the players, the ceremony, and the game.
But I would say the group shot we took together was the best. I would not be anywhere without my family and they mean so much to me. I was honored that they invited me to the game, and for that I cannot thank them enough.
Ashley and Matt went to their seats while Thomas, Krystina, and I stayed on the field level to watch the Angels take batting practice, as the Yanks took BP before the gates opened to the public. We were literally pressed directly up against the wall in right field. We had a perfect view of everything!
Thomas kept yelling for a ball. He wanted one more than anything. Former Yankee Bobby Abreu was practically right in front of us. He lobbed a couple loose baseballs into the stands, but not any that came near us. Two security guards however were standing near us and Thomas chatted with them, trying to coerce them into getting him a ball.
Whoever was in the Angels’ batting cage smoked one down the right field line. The ball ricocheted off the side of the wall and onto the grass.
“Can you get that for me?” Thomas politely asked.
“We are not allowed to go on the grass,” one of the security guards answered.
Not long after that, another ball was ripped down the right field line in foul territory, landing safely on the dirt. It was right in front of the guards.
“Please!” Thomas persisted. “Please get that for me!”
The guard smiled, bent over, picked up the ball, and placed it softly in Thomas’s glove.
I have never in my life seen a child happier. Thomas, with a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon, had gotten a foul ball in batting practice, a feat I never accomplished at a Major League game. He was ecstatic and I was overjoyed that he was able to get it.
I’m sure it will be something he’ll remember forever.
What I thought was significant about the day was the team the Yankees were playing. They played the Angels. And I have no doubt in my mind that Thomas’s dad, my Uncle John, was one of the Angels at the Stadium yesterday–but he was an Angel for the Yankees. It truly felt as though he was right there with us.
After batting practice wrapped, the ring ceremony festivities were set to begin. I watched from behind centerfield and everything looked wonderful. Michael Kay and John Sterling emceed the ceremony and the World Series trophy was even on display.
First the team paid homage to owner George Steinbrenner, who was in attendance for the days’ events. I have never heard a louder ovation for a non-player in my life. The crowd roared for him and rightfully so. Without Mr. Steinbrenner, there would be no Yankee team.
Then Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra came out to help hand out the rings. Manager Joe Girardi also helped distribute the rings and he congratulated each player as they accepted their prize. One by one, every Yankee from last year’s team was called out to get their ring.
Really the only players who were missing were Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera. Jerry Hairston, Jr. (although no longer with the team) was in the ballpark to get his ring. As was Hideki Matsui, the MVP of the ’09 World Series who is now a member of the Angels.
They saved Matsui’s introduction for last, and he received a humungous, deafening ovation. I think every Yankee fan recognized Matsui’s hard work and dedication over the seven years he played in the Bronx. I know he will always be a Yankee in my heart.
When the ceremony was ready to conclude, the whole team ran in and showed Matsui a lot of love; the team got together one last time and embraced for a group hug. The hug almost brought a tear to my eye, because I know how close the 2009 team was.
I didn’t realize until I got home how they had tricked Matsui. Girardi handed him a bootleg ring and later during the Opening Day ceremony ran the real ring over to him. Matsui laughed and I could see his Angel teammates also teasing him for it.
A little playful humor now and then is relished by the best teams, I guess.
And speaking about the Opening Day ceremony: once again, overwhelming. They called the Angels out of their dugout and they all lined up along the third baseline. The Yankees lined up on the first baseline, and cadets from West Point stood in center field to unfurl the American flag. Not long after the anthem ended, two enormous jets flew over Yankee Stadium.
Those fighter jets were LOUD! When I tell you they were loud, they were LOUD! The ground literally shook as they flew over the new house. And once again, it was quite a sight to behold. My only word for it: “Amazing.”
After the anthem and beautiful aerial presentation, Bernie Williams, the great former center fielder, tossed out the honorable first pitch. Talk about an ovation! Williams received a rousing hand from us Yankee faithful, but it somewhat shocked us how he bounced the pitch. Being a former All-Star center fielder, you would think Williams would hit home plate! He missed, much to the surprise of the crowd. The gentleman standing next to me yelled, “Oh, come on Bernie! You gotta hit the glove!”
It’s Ok, Bernie. I still love you.
After the Yankees were finished warming up and all pre-game ceremonies were over, it was time to, as they say, play ball! Yankees vs. Angels.
The Yankees struck first in the bottom of the first. Designated hitter Nick Johnson blasted a solo home run to right field, a shot that (as I understand) landed right next to Bald Vinny–the legendary Bleacher Creature who starts the famous Yankee “roll call” at the beginning of each home game.
Unfortunately I was on line for food when this happened, but I heard the crowd roar and got into a spot just in time to see Johnson cross home plate. In any event it was the first of many home runs the Yankees will hit in their house in 2010.
As Andy Pettitte worked brilliantly through the first three innings, the Yankees held a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the frame. The Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, stepped up to the plate and crushed a solo home to right field, his first of the year.
It really is amazing how many games I have been to that have featured a home run by Jeter. It seems every game I get out to, he hits a home run. I can think of at least five games off the top of my head in which Jeter has homered. Maybe I bring some kind of luck to him, who knows.
In any event, 2-0 Yankees at the end of three innings of play.
One of the more special moments during the day was Matsui’s first at-bat. The former beloved Yankee received yet another rousing ovation from the fans while he stepped into the batter’s box. Pettitte respectfully tipped his cap and stepped off the mound and allowed his former teammate to soak up the moment.
Matsui removed his helmet and acknowledged the fans who once called him a hero. Unfortunately for the 2009 World Series MVP, the Yankees were not very kind to him in terms of his day at the plate. He was 0-for-5 on the day with a strikeout.
The Yankees tacked on three more runs before the end of the sixth inning. Jeter was at it again in the fourth, reaching on an infield single that scored Curtis Granderson. In the sixth, Alex Rodriguez reached on yet another infield single, which brought home Johnson and Nick Swisher.
5-0, all Yankees at the end of six innings. It was looking good for us.
That is, until Kendry Morales stepped up in the top of the eighth. The Angels’ first baseman smashed a long, solo home run into the second deck in right field, putting the Angels on the board, 5-1.
The Yankees got two runs back in the bottom of the eighth, both of them proving to be the difference in the game. Jorge Posada doubled to score Johnson and Granderson singled to score Robinson Cano, giving the Yankees a 7-1 edge.
Posada’s double put him ahead of Mantle on the all-time Yankee doubles list.
You would think with a 7-1 lead heading into the ninth inning everything would be safe and secure. Well, think again. Feeling that the game was practically over, my cousins and I watched the end of the game from the concourse on the first base side.
And we received a pleasant surprise followed by a not-so-pleasant surprise, followed by a happy ending.
Right before the ninth inning began, two gentleman sitting in the field box seats decided to leave. One of them tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his tickets.
“Here you go,” he said. “You guys can watch the end from the field level seats.”
“WOW!” I exclaimed. “Thank you very much!”
“Don’t mention it,” he replied.
How awesome is that?! You never really see that type of chivalry anymore. A man, not knowing who I was, just gave up his seats to me, a stranger. Granted, the game was almost over, it was still a very noble gesture and overall a kind act.
Who says New Yorkers are mean-spirited?
In any event my cousins and I, now sitting in comfortable, padded box seats, watched David Robertson surrender hit after walk after hit, eventually loading the bases. I still thought the Yankees were in great shape, even if they only gave up a run or two.
To our dismay, former Yankee Abreu stepped up and slaughtered a grand slam home run to left field, something he specialized in when he played for the Yankees. I will always like Abreu; in my mind he was the best Yankee right fielder since Paul O’Neill. But yesterday…I did not like him. He burned us pretty bad.
I mean, Abreu’s home run was a real shot. I’m talking way back into the left field seats.
Now with the score at 7-5 and a save situation in place, Girardi was prompted to bring in Mariano Rivera. The great Rivera struck Torii Hunter out swinging and then got his former teammate Matsui to pop out to end the game.
Ballgame over. Yankees win. THEEEEE Yankees win!
We stayed and watched the Yankees take congratulations and improve their record to 5-2.
We exited the ballpark and once again looked at the demolished old stadium. Thomas looked at it once more, and looking at it again, I could not help but think of all the games his father took us to. I think a part of us went down with that stadium.
But then we glanced back at the new stadium and thought about the days’ events. The Yankees had just won and we had just witnessed history; the first ring ceremony in the new Stadium, a batting practice foul ball, a great game, a seat upgrade from a gracious fan and a Yankee win.
And not only that, a day spent with my friends and family.
I could not have asked for anything better. It was just a day where nothing went wrong. I can truly say that I felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth yesterday.
And Uncle John: I know you were there with us. We miss you.
Keep smiling down on us and the Yankees.
The Sunday night heartbreaker seems like a lifetime ago. The New York Yankees got their first loss of the 2010 season out of the way Sunday night but bounced back and picked up their first win Tuesday night over the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-4.
It feels great knowing the Bombers won’t be 0-8 vs. Boston this year.
There were so many things going on tonight, so I will just dive right into the analysis.
· A.J. Burnett
It wasn’t clear which version of A.J. Burnett showed up tonight. In the first inning, the lanky righty gave up a run which wasn’t really his fault. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base on a sloppy defensive play in the outfield and eventually scored.
Really the only hitter who feasted off Burnett tonight was Victor Martinez. The Boston catcher was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs against the Yankee starter.
The final line for Burnett: five innings, four runs (only three earned) on seven hits, one walk, and five Ks. If you ask me, his line was mediocre. Not good, but could have been much worse. For his first start he didn’t pitch poorly.
The best pitch he threw all night had to be a disgusting breaking ball he got Kevin Youkilis looking on. Burnett introduced the Boston first baseman to his uncle Charlie!
Also, he and Jorge Posada looked to be on the same page. We need that!
His next start will most likely come Sunday in Tampa against the Rays.
· The Bullpen
What a difference two days make! The Yankee relievers came ready to play tonight. Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Damaso Marte, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera: four innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, three strikeouts.
A huge, HUGE improvement over Sunday night!
Aceves looked unbelievably good. He can just come into a game and shut the hitters down. He tossed two scoreless innings and for his efforts he picked up the win.
And how about Chamberlain? He turned back the clock! His outing was 2007-esque.
The big reliever entered the game in the eighth inning with one out and sat down Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew on strikes. But the real story was his velocity. He was lighting up the speed gun at 96-98 mph.
First Pumps for everybody!
And in the ninth–who else but Rivera. He slammed the door for the first time this year and the 527th time in his career. I think he will get a ton of saves this year.
· Nick Johnson and Robinson Cano
Both of these guys had pretty big nights.
Nick Johnson was 0-for-2 but walked with the bases loaded in the eighth to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. He also took one for the team and was hit by a pitch. He is a patient hitter and has shown that he can reach base, but I tend to worry about his health. Hopefully he doesn’t get plunked anymore this year.
And then there’s Robinson Cano.
The young second baseman was 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored, and two RBIs. He put on a hitting show tonight and he’s just going to keep getting better. If he continues to play this way for the rest of the year, he may hit 30 home runs and drive in 120 runs.
I have so much faith in Cano. Every time I watch him, it’s like he gets better and better. His solo home run in the ninth gave the Yanks a 6-4 cushion to put Boston away.
- Other Notes
–Alex Rodriguez drove in a run with an RBI double and Mark Teixeira grounded into a force out which scored Curtis Granderson.
–Nick Swisher knocked in the Yanks’ first run with an RBI double in the top of the second. Nick at Nite!
–I didn’t really get great vibes from Marcus Thames tonight. In the first inning, he missed a ball in left field which could have been easily caught by Brett Gardner…or Johnny Damon…
Thames only started because he supposedly “wears out” left-handed pitching and Jon Lester (a lefty) was on the mound for the Red Sox. Well, Thames only had 0 hits tonight. Way to wear ‘em out.
–Derek Jeter made two awesome plays on defense tonight. I’d like to know who the moron was who said his range has gone down. He is ageless.
–The Yankees committed three errors tonight. Boston committed one, but it was a big one–it kept the eighth inning alive for Johnson to draw the bases-loaded walk.
–Hideki Okajima was the Boston pitcher who walked in Johnson with the bases chucked. They call him “Okey Dok” in Boston. Okey Dok, thank you for your lack of control.
–Tomorrow night the rubber game against Boston will be played. Andy Pettitte will make the start against John Lackey.
–The Yankees are off Thursday then open up a three-day weekend series in Tampa Bay.
On an everyday basis during the baseball season, the Yankees make me believe in things. They make me feel strong. Whether it is crushing a 400 foot home run or throwing a 99 mph fastball, it’s almost as if the Bronx Bombers possess powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men.
Simply put, the Yankees are my superheroes.
Then I got to thinking: if the Yankees were superheroes, which ones would they be? I put together a list of Bombers who represent comic book heroes. I tried to match each hero to a Yankee in accordance to their attributes and personality.
Derek Jeter: Superman
When you think of Superman, you think of strength, speed, and power. Derek Jeter has all those tools. He is strong, in a sense that knows how to win. He is fast, in a sense that he can outdo pretty much anyone on the field. And he is powerful in terms of his personality.
Jeter can do just about anything when it comes to baseball the same way Superman can do just about anything when it comes to saving the world. One example of that was July 1, 2004. The Yankees were playing the Red Sox in heated game at Yankee Stadium.
Trot Nixon popped a fly ball down the third baseline. On his horse, Jeter ran as fast as he could and with his arms outstretched like the man of steel, he dove into the stands and caught the ball for an out. It was one of the most spectacular plays of the year and probably in the history of Yankee Stadium.
Drawing another comparison between the two, Superman is the leader of the Justice League. Jeter is the Yankee captain. If Jeter had to be compared to any hero, it would have to be Superman.
Powerful, quick, strong-willed, humble, and mild-mannered: Jeter is the ultimate Yankee Superman. There probably isn’t anyone who would argue that point, either.
Jeter’s middle name is Sanderson, but it should be Superman. Just saying.
Mark Teixeira: Batman
Ever since he arrived in Gotham City, Batman has dominated. The same can be said of Mark Teixeira. Last season, Teixeira arrived on the Yankee scene and has just captured everyone’s imagination and attention.
It seems there are two sides of Teixeira. There’s the suave, handsome, and debonair man we see conducting interviews and smiling for the camera. Then there’s the aggressive side we see during the games; he gets his game face on, takes the field, and beats down the opposition.
Batman is the same way. First there is Bruce Wayne, the charming, breathtaking billionaire playboy. Then when he puts the costume on he is Batman, a ruthless, rugged individual ready to bring hardened criminals to justice.
Also like Batman, Teixeira has displayed a quick temper. When the Yankees’ first baseman was beaned by Vicente Padilla back in June of 2009, he did not handle it well. Teixeira became infuriated and mouthed off to Padilla.
Batman would have done the same thing in that situation. The dark knight does not take abuse like that and when you try to mess with him, you better watch out. Just ask the Joker, the Penguin, or the Riddler!
Teixeira is a lot like the caped crusader. And putting it into perspective, not only he is the Yankees’ bat-man, but he does it with the leather, too. I guess you can say Teixeira is a “gold glove bat-man.”
He can do it all.
Alex Rodriguez: The Incredible
Watching Alex Rodriguez in the 2007 season was one of the most enjoyable times for me as a Yankee fan. It seemed as if the whole world was watching him. They watched, not really to see if he would homer (because he basically hit a homer every game), but to see how far his home runs would go.
Rodriguez’s 2007 MVP season was just an utter display of sheer power.
And when you think of superheroes who just feed off power, the Incredible Hulk comes to mind. In the comic book world, Dr. Bruce Banner was exposed to the blast of a gamma bomb he created. In turn, he created a monster. After the accident, whenever he gets angry he transforms into the Hulk.
Not saying Rodriguez is a green, 300-pound, Frankenstein. But like the Hulk he has an impulsive nature and really can be a monster when it comes to baseball.
In terms of his impulsive attitude, remember back to July 24, 2004. Rodriguez was hit on the left elbow with a pitch by Bronson Arroyo. He tossed his bat down and angrily lipped off to the Red Sox pitcher.
Don’t get him angry. You will not like A-Rod when he’s angry.
Of course a melee ensued and Rodriguez went at it with Jason Varitek. I still have the image of Don Mattingly trying to calm Rodriguez in my head. He was absolutely livid. Rodriguez just has the temper that other players don’t want to mess with. He and the Hulk share a lot of the same traits.
Above all of his tools, Rodriguez is known for his power and the same goes for the Hulk.
Mariano Rivera: Thor
Many people know Mariano Rivera by one or two names. “The Sandman,” because he puts his opponents to sleep. “Mo,” because it’s just a shorter version of his first name. But another nickname was given to the great Rivera: “the Hammer of God.”
Thor is a comic book character who wields a hammer.
But it’s not just the hammer that makes Thor comparable to the great Rivera. Among Thor’s powers are superhuman strength, durability, and longevity. Those powers could not possibly come any closer to Rivera’s.
The cutter is probably the strongest and most effective pitch in the game of baseball. Rivera is one of the most durable closers there ever was. And finally, he has been the best closer in the game since he became a closer in 1997, showcasing his brilliant longevity.
Along with his powers, Rivera has stood toe-to-toe with some of the best hitters in the world. Thor has gone up against several mythical foes, like Hercules and Galactus. Both heroes have stood up against some of the deadliest adversaries, making them so alike it’s scary.
There could not be a better hero than Thor to compare Rivera to.
Robinson Cano: The Green Lantern
In brightest day or in blackest night, Robinson Cano always comes up big. Whether it’s at the plate or with his glove, this young second baseman has everything going for him.
The Green Lantern is a superhero who wears a jumpsuit and wields a power ring that can pretty much do anything. Like Cano, he is young, abrasive, and does anything he can to help his team win.
One power the ring gives the Green Lantern is flight. He can soar through the air and basically conquer any evil he sees. Cano has that same function; although he technically cannot fly, he glides across the infield making hair-raising grabs and superhuman-like web gems.
Although it is a mighty weapon, Green Lantern’s ring needs to be charged every so often. It runs on a battery and Cano is the same way. Even though he is quite durable on the field, he needs rest in order to stay on top. In 2008 he was forced to start almost every game and his game became sloppy as a result. It probably stemmed from too much playing time and he needed to sit out.
Whatever the case, Cano has a tendency to aid his team in victory without necessarily putting the team on his back. Green Lantern and Cano have a lot in common.
CC Sabathia: Beast
I searched long and hard, trying to think up a hero that CC Sabathia reminds me of. When it came down to make a decision, I came across the perfect match: Beast.
A student of Professor X, Beast is a lot like the Yankees’ ace. He is big, beefy, and has amazing stamina. Sabathia, really an avid student of the game of baseball, is big, beefy, and has amazing stamina.
Beast once fought Magneto, the Juggernaut, and the sentinels all at once. He is so powerful; he can fight ridiculously strong villains all by himself. Not only does he fight them, he manhandles them!
I look at what Sabathia did in the 2009 playoffs and compare him to Beast. He went up against some of the strongest players in the game. I’m talking about Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Torii Hunter, and Joe Mauer.
Sabathia did not just beat these players, he demolished most of them.
Any way you look at it, Sabathia is so much like Beast. Not really just his looks, but how he handles himself in battle. They have a lot in common and their powers are pretty much equally matched.
Come to think about it, Alex Rodriguez called Sabathia a “beast” after Game Four of the ALCS…
Nick Swisher: Michelangelo
He may not be a “hero in a half shell,” but Nick Swisher exhibits a lot of qualities that the orange ninja turtle has. He is fun-loving, has an infectious personality, and wants only the best for his team.
Described in the 1987 ninja turtles cartoon, Michelangelo is “a party dude.” There is no better way to sum up Swisher. The Yankees’ right fielder has that mentality of being a “party dude.” He wants to play the game and have fun, which is what it is all about.
Although Michelangelo does not have hair, I cannot really make the comparison to the Swish-hawk. However, recently I noticed Swisher shaved his head. Maybe it was only for spring training and he will grow the hawk back for opening day?
Who knows. But I do know that Swisher is like Mike. Rock on, boys!
Brett Gardner: The Flash
This one really was a no-brainer.
The Flash is the fastest man alive but Brett Gardner is the fastest man on the Yankees. He might even be the fastest man in Major League Baseball (Yes, I said it Jose Reyes. Faster than you!)
In the comic books, Superman and the Flash once had an argument about who is the fastest man alive. To settle their dispute, they decided to race around the world. In fact, the duo had several races many of which the Flash won because his main power is speed.
Like the Flash, Gardner’s main tool is speed. What he lacks in power and throwing ability he makes up for with his wheels. He can outrun probably anybody on the diamond and do it in convincing fashion.
On May 15, 2009, it took Gardner 14 seconds to run 360 feet around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. No disrespect to the Flash, but I’m not even sure he could pull that off! It was the most amazing show of speed I have ever seen in my life. (I’m glad I was there at Yankee Stadium to see it in-person, too!)
If there is any hero to compare Gardner to, it’s the Flash. I’d like to see them race around the world to find out who is faster. It would be an interesting race!
Well that’s all. Hope you enjoyed my list!
Also seen at Bleacher Report
In the first game of a split-squad doubleheader, the New York Yankees topped the Detroit Tigers 6-2 on Friday afternoon.
Overall it was a good win. The team looked about as solid as they can be, coming off the 6-4 win over Tampa Bay last night. The Bombers will play the Rays again tonight in game two of their twin bill.
A few players and plays stood out this afternoon. All I can say is the Yankees are looking better and better as Spring Training continues!
The Yankee ace wasn’t having a great spring coming into today’s start. In fact, his numbers were brutal. 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA was the line on Sabathia up until today, indicating a little rust, I suppose. He pitched so much last season and into the playoffs, so he needed that rest in the off-season. But as the old saying goes, “when you rest, you rust.”
Yet Sabathia looked anything but rusty today.
The big man tossed 5 1/3 innings, surrendered four hits, and was charged with two runs this afternoon. He walked only two and struck out eight Tigers, making some of Detroit’s best hitters look as silly as the Joker at a comedy show.
The breaking ball, the fastball, and the changeup were working perfectly for Sabathia today. I will admit I had some doubts in the first inning. He quickly gave up a run and I thought “here we go again.” But he settled in nicely and found a good rhythm with catcher Francisco Cervelli. They looked to be on the same page all afternoon.
After today, I feel a lot better about Sabathia. Not that I ever really felt bad about him, despite the shaky spring. He always finds a way to win and always comes up big when the Yankees need him to.
I said it once and I’ll say it again: I believe in CC Sabathia.
In the bottom of the third inning, Alex Rodriguez stepped into the box against Rick Porcello. The three-time MVP smacked a long, and I mean LONG, solo home run over the left-centerfield fence. As a matter of fact, the ball cleared the scoreboard and landed well beyond George M. Steinbrenner Field.
“That…was a BOMB!” It was all I could say.
Rodriguez went 2-for-3 today and he looks to be in top shape for this season. Last year he did not return to the lineup until May 8 because of the hip injury. The Yankees (and more notably Mark Teixeira) struggled in his absence.
2010 might be a different story, though. There are no injuries and he will be starting the season in regular form. I have a feeling he’ll have a typical “A-Rod season.” Look for about 35-40 home runs, over 100 RBIs, a batting average around .300, and probably 100 runs scored.
That is, unless, he stupefies us all like he did in 2007. That’s always appreciated, as well!
All I can say is “wow” to that homer he hit today. He absolutely crushed the ball and got very good wood on it. I shouldn’t even say “crushed.” Obliterated is probably the operative word. He said after the game he “lost track of it, but knew he hit it a long ways.”
That you did, A-Rod. That you did.
Last night vs. Tampa Bay, the Yankee captain looked to have tweaked his hand a little bit. He was grimacing as he was taking warm-ups, but stayed in the game. He also said nothing was bothering him (as usual) and he started today.
Not only did he start today, but he had a good game.
Jeter went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk. The captain knocked in both runs on a single in the bottom of the second, which put the Yankees ahead, 3-1. His hitting is exactly what we all expect at this point. Jeter’s been through Spring Training so many times, I’m sure he is used to it by now.
Along with his hitting, his defense looks great, too. Whoever said his range has gone down really needs to get their eyes checked. This spring, Jeter has been moving around just as well as he has his whole career.
It’s just good to know he did not hurt his hand last night and he had a good day today.
The Yankees’ closer needed just 10 pitches to retire the Tigers in the seventh inning today. Mariano Rivera’s line for the day: no runs, no hits, no errors, no men left on base…one strikeout.
It never gets old seeing that.
Like the rest of the veterans, Rivera also looks to be in top form. He always is, it’s nothing new for him. I noticed that his velocity was down in the low-mid 80s at first, but he eventually made it up to the 90s toward the end of the inning.
I think velocity is not something that really matters when it comes to Rivera’s pitching. So many hitters have already said, “We all know the cutter is coming–yet no one can ever hit it.” My favorite quote was by Mike Sweeney, who once said,
“People always ask why you can’t hit Mo’s cutter when you know it’s coming. Well, you know what’s going to happen in a horror movie, but it still gets you.”
Best quote about the cutter. Ever.
I think people also need to realize, it’s not an easy pitch to hit. The cutter runs inside on left-handed hitters and tails away from righties. One player once remarked, “At first you think the ball is outside, and then it comes right in toward your hands.” Honestly, it’s probably the nastiest pitch there is.
Last year Rivera had 44 saves in 46 save opportunities with a 1.76 ERA. With the way he’s been pitching for the last 15 years or so, he might duplicate that in 2010. Knowing him, I would not doubt it. He said he will have about five more outings this spring and he is set to pitch again on Sunday.
–Nick Johnson worked an 11 pitch at-bat in the fourth inning, ending in a walk. I expect more of this from him this year. It’s good to have a patient hitter in the lineup.
–Royce Ring pitched yet another scoreless inning. I think a roster spot could be in his future. I like him!
–In the 6-4 win over Tampa last night, Chan Ho Park tossed his first inning this spring. No runs, no hits, no walks, and a strikeout, along with making a nice bare-handed play for an out. Good stuff, let’s see if he can keep it up!
–In addition to Park’s good outing, Colin Curtis hit another three-run home run in last night’s win. I like this kid. I know he won’t make the team coming right out of the gate, but Curtis may make a case for a call-up this year, even if it’s at the end in September. He has a great left-handed swing, tailor-made for Yankee Stadium. I hope we see more of him, he’s got some pop!
–Joe Girardi stated that he hopes to have a decision on the fifth starting pitcher by March 25 or 26. If you ask me…anyone but Joba Chamberlain at this point. I have no clue who I would choose for that spot at the moment.
–Johnny Damon did not make the trip to GMS Field today. We didn’t see our old friend.
–We did however see Austin Jackson (we barely knew ye) and Phil Coke today. I have to ask…WHAT did Phil Coke do to himself? He looks like a hippie straight out of the 1970s! He has long hair and a mustache and looks…not right. Cut your hair and shave, Cokey!
–Coke did however have a good outing, as he struck Alex Rodriguez out swinging and then proceeded to retire Robinson Cano and Marcus Thames in order.
–The Tigers played one of their AA minor leaguers by the name of Deik Scram. He is a centerfielder. Nice name! Kind of reminds me of Stubby Clapp.
Francisco Cervelli played today. As we all know, he has suffered three concussions and needs to wear a somewhat large, protective helmet. The YES Network made a reference to Gazoo, an imaginary cartoon character who always talked to Fred Flintstone.
I have to admit, Cervelli’s helmet does resemble Gazoo’s…
With the National Football League playoffs in full force and the championship teams ready to play the final round before Super Bowl XLIV, I noticed some banter among some of my friends. There are some people who are bringing up the argument of which sport is better: baseball or football?
As a die-hard fan of both sports, it’s hard for me to say which sport is better. Baseball was the first sport I’ve ever loved, but in recent years football has captured my attention and interest.
I went to Google to find out what other people have to say about this argument and I found an interesting blog someone wrote for CBS. The author listed 25 reasons why football is better than baseball.
Although the blog brought up several excellent points, I’m just torn with this argument.
What I figured I would do was analyze each of his points objectively to determine which sport is better. I’ll list his points and give you my take on them. Since there are 25, I’ll break up the blog into two sections.
Why Football is Better than Baseball, Part I:
1) Football is the ultimate team sport. All 11 players are involved in every play.
This one I have to agree with, to a certain extent. Yes, all players on the field need to be moving and participating, but there are still players off the field. If your team is on defense, the offense isn’t playing and vice versa. I do see where he’s coming from here; every player on the baseball diamond isn’t involved in every play.
A centerfielder can catch a high-fly ball for an out…and what was the first baseman doing? Whereas a quarterback takes a snap and his offensive line is blocking the defensive line, the wide receivers are sprinting out to catch the ball while the cornerbacks are guarding them to interrupt the pass…and there’s so much happening all at once!
2) Football can be played by anyone, anywhere. All it takes is at least two players, and a $15 dollar ball. Baseball requires two $40 gloves, a $7 ball, a $50 bat, and so much more.
I think this comes down to preference. Instead of baseball, there’s always whiffle ball and those bats and balls are about $5 altogether. Not to mention you can play whiffle ball with only two people.
When he was a young man in Panama, Mariano Rivera had to use makeshift bats and balls to practice. He even crafted a glove out of a milk carton. I can’t really agree with this point, because as I said, it comes down to what you want to do.
3) Football statistics are simple are require little mathematics to compute.
I stink at math.
4) The average fan can pick up and understand football. In baseball, the average fan cannot tell the difference between a two-seam, a four seam, or a cut fastball.
I think this point simply comes down to how fast you learn things. I myself am slow to pickup on things at times, other times I catch on relatively easy. It took me a few years to learn all the rules of both baseball and football, but I learned, didn’t I?
5) Baseball is hyper sensitive to the elements. Football players play through rain, snow, sleet and everything in between.
Excellent point. In football they do not care if it’s raining, snowing, freezing rain, below zero temperatures–they play in anything with the exception of thunderstorms because it’s too dangerous.
In baseball, a slight drizzle could cause a rain delay. The tarp comes on the field and the fans are waiting for the players to come back out, getting soaked in the rain. I can remember when I was a freshman in college four years ago, I was talking to this girl I had a crush on.
She asked me how the Yankees were doing, as she knew how big of a fan I am. I told her about how the night before they were in a rain delay and how the game was eventually called. Her response:
“A-Rod is getting paid how much money? I think he can play in the rain!”
6) Every baseball player is presumed a cheater until proven otherwise. Football has no such problem.
There are cheaters in every sport.
I guarantee that there are a number of players in football who have used steroids and illegal substances. The NFL’s policy is that the players are responsible for what they put into their bodies. If the players who use do get caught, they are suspended, which is also MLB’s policy.
As for baseball, we’re playing in the steroid era. There are literally hundreds of players who have (at some point) used steroids. I think (sadly) the point is applied to most sports. Everyone–not just in baseball–is a cheater until proven otherwise.
7) The individual baseball games are meaningless. Game 34 means just as much as game 134. What you’re watching has no bearing on the season.
Yes and no. This point really depends on who you are watching play. Sometimes it takes more than 162 games to get into the postseason; ask the Twins and Tigers of last year. They played game 163 to determine who would win the AL Central and it wound up being one of the greatest games of the season.
But if you are watching the Kansas City Royals, or the Pittsburgh Pirates, or the Baltimore Orioles, or any team with a low payroll in last place…or even the Yankees or Red Sox or any team with a high payroll in first place…then yes, I see the point.
8) In baseball, a team can effectively remove the opposition’s best player from the game through the intentional walk. Football has no equivalent.
OK, good point. I’ve always seen intentional walking as a sort of loophole; many people use the term “bush league” to describe it. But if you’re a baseball fan, it works for your team and against your team in certain instances.
The only way to take out a football team’s best player is through physicality. If you hurt them on a play and injure them, then you have succeeded. But unlike baseball, there is no loophole to take a player out like the intentional walk.
9) In football, playoff games actually mean something. That one game decides who progresses and who stays home.
A good but sketchy point. Football has that no-nonsense mentality in terms of the playoffs. “You can’t win the game? Go home.” No matter what, one team will go “one and done,” so to speak.
In baseball there is a little more margin for error, considering it’s a series of games, not just one. But one game can mean something; for example, if the Yankees play the Twins in the ALDS, and they blow them out in game one, that can set the tone for the entire series.
In one game, a baseball team’s morale can go up or down, possibly determining a series.
10) Football rules make for dramatic comebacks. A team down by two scores can easily make up ground in the final period of play.
I can’t totally agree with this point, because there have been numerous baseball comebacks over the years. Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS, and I can think of at least three other comebacks the Yankees made this past October.
Football rules are designed for comebacks. If the Giants are down by two scores in the last 2:30 of the fourth quarter, they could potentially drive the ball down the field, score, recover an onside kickoff, drive the ball again, and tie the game (possibly even win it if they go for the two point conversion instead of the point-after-touchdown)
It’s extremely difficult to do that, but so is hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie a game. It’s hard to accomplish in both sports, honestly.
And…a walk-off home run is just as good as sinking a field goal as time expires..isn’t it?
11) Football games are lively, upbeat, and exciting. In today’s world of instant gratification and limited attention spans, many cannot appreciate the finer points of baseball.
Excellent point. Baseball is a slow-moving sport, let’s not kid ourselves here. A pitcher can take literally 45 seconds to a minute to throw a pitch. A batter can step out of the box whenever he pleases, and it can be a full 10 minutes before there is even a base hit.
With football, there has to be action within a certain period of time, no matter what. There’s constant action, every player is moving and it can be exciting. I’ve fallen asleep during some baseball games, simply because there was nothing happening.
My younger sister recently became a huge sports fan (I’m not sure how) but I was talking football with her the other day. Then she starts going on about college basketball and I finally looked at her and asked, “Why aren’t you a baseball fan?”
She replied, “It’s too slow. There is no action. At least with basketball and football they move around!”
My grandfather over heard our conversation and he looked at me, chimed in, and said, “She’s right. You have to be die-hard to watch baseball. With other sports like hockey and football and basketball there is consistent action. Baseball does not have that.”
12) Myron Cope. Anyone in baseball ever come close?
I had no clue who he was until I looked him up. Apparently Myron Cope was a journalist and sports broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a legend in steel town, holding the title as “Voice of the Steelers.”
I’ve never heard of him, let alone his voice, but from what I gathered he was very good at what he did. And I certainly admire and respect him for it.
But there are baseball announcers who have done extremely great work; baseball has had announcers with distinctive voices and easily recognizable catch phrases.
“Holy cow!”–Phil Rizzuto. Case in point.
That does it for Part I of this blog. I will be back with the final 13 points as well as a wrap up on this subject.
On my Yankee Yapping Facebook page, I noticed that I am closing in on 500 fans. The number 500 is pretty high and it takes a baseball player a long time to reach that number, especially in terms of home runs.
On August 4, 2007, Alex Rodriguez became the first Yankee player to reach 500 home runs since Mickey Mantle, who slammed his 500th long ball on May 14, 1967. The current Yankee third baseman became only the third player to hit his 500th career homer in a Yankee uniform, of course joining Mantle and the legendary Babe Ruth.
A-Rod, Mantle, and Ruth are now in the record books and are pretty much considered to be three of the greatest home run hitters in baseball history.
But Rodriguez’s 500th home run could not have come at a worse time. For me.
The day after A-Rod left the yard for the 500th time I went to the Yankees vs. Royals game. I’ve always said (and still say it to this day) that I wished he had waited one day. By about 24 hours, I missed a moment in Yankee history.
Two of my cousins had four tickets to the game and invited my sister and me to go with them to Yankee Stadium. We had excellent seats; we sat on the main level on the third baseline, practically right behind the Royals’ dugout. We had such a wonderful view of the field!
Then-manager Joe Torre (sort of) rested Rodriguez the day after he reached 500. Before he hit the big homer, A-Rod had been struggling immensely at the plate. He waited eight days and 28 at-bats to hit the elusive 500, but he eventually got a hold of one and accomplished the feat.
So on Aug. 5, A-Rod started at the designated hitter position while Wilson Betemit played third. As Torre used to say, A-Rod had “half a day off.”
The Yankees jumped on the Royals early, scoring four runs on the second inning. Melky Cabrera singled to score his buddy Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in Betemit, and Bobby Abreu singled to score Andy Phillips and Cabrera to put to the Yanks ahead, 4-0.
In the bottom of the third, Hideki Matsui launched a solo home run into the right field porch, giving the Yanks a 5-0 lead. What some people may not know was that home run was Matsui’s 100th career home run as a member of the Yankees (and in Major League Baseball in general).
So even though I missed A-Rod’s 500th homer by one day, I saw Matsui’s 100th homer in-person, the day it happened.
In the bottom of the fourth, Rodriguez stepped up to the plate. He received a thunderous ovation for what he had done the day before and almost every Yankee fan was on their feet cheering and chanting, “501! 501! 501!”
Although he wasn’t able to smash yet another homer, A-Rod drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to deep left-center field to score Jeter, giving the Yankees a 6-0 lead.
Kansas City finally broke out and scored in the top of the sixth when Ross Gload belted a long, two-run home run into the upper deck in right field off Mike Mussina. His home run went a long way, and I mean a long way. I’m not sure if that ball has landed yet. Just watching that ball fly out of the park and into the upper deck was pretty amazing, even though it was for the opposing team.
But the Yankees would get those runs back in the bottom of the frame.
Cabrera hit a solo home run to right field, a screaming line drive that just cleared the right field wall. Yankees were now on top, 7-2. I didn’t notice at the time (and I didn’t find out until I watched Sportscenter after I got home) but the same person who caught Matsui’s home run ball caught Cabrera’s.
That’s one lucky fan; he caught two home run balls by two Yankees in the same game. After I heard that, I wished my seats were behind the wall instead of behind the dugout!
Later in the sixth, Matsui drive in another run with a sacrifice fly to score Jeter, putting the Yankees ahead, 8-2. It seemed the Yankees were doing everything right, but the Royals did not go down without a fight.
Mark Teahen singled off side-winding reliever Mike Myers to score David DeJesus in the top of the seventh and on the same play Esteban German scored on a throwing error by Cabrera, cutting the lead to 8-4.
Myers gave up yet another run in the top of the eighth, surrendering an RBI single to Joey Gathright that scored John Buck. All of a sudden the Royals were down by only three runs. Uh oh…
Replacing Myers was the great one, Mariano Rivera. The Yankees’ ace closer was summoned to record a four-out save. As Enter Sandman blared through the Yankee Stadium speakers, I noticed a sign someone in front of me was holding up. It read:
“1977 The Bronx is Burning. 2007 The Yanks are on Fire!”
Very clever sign.
It was the truth; right around that time the Yankees were on their run to the Wild Card title in a season that looked hopeless. The Yankees had no business even being considered for the playoffs toward the beginning of the year, but they picked up their game over the summer and earned the Wild Card spot, basically on the shoulders of Rodriguez.
I still believe that if A-Rod had not been as good as he was, the Yankees never would have made the playoffs. He undoubtedly carried them to into the postseason.
Three groundouts and a strikeout later, Rivera notched the save and procured an 8-5 Yankee win over the Royals. It was a good day to be at the ballpark and a good day to be a Yankee fan.
Win Mussina, loss Gil Meche, save Rivera. Win A.J. Martelli. My sister, my cousins and I smiled as we listened to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York as we filed out of the turnstiles.
Any day the Yankees win, it’s a good day.
I had a lot of fun that day, I only wish Rodriguez had not hit the big home run the day before. Although seeing Matsui hit his 100th career home run was exciting, it would have been nice to see A-Rod’s 500th. The whole team came out of the dugout to congratulate him and you could just tell it was a special and historic moment.
Some of the Yankees have said that Rodriguez’s milestone homer was their favorite memory in the old Stadium and to be there for it would have been amazing. Missing it by one day fills my heart with regret and I still wished he had gotten that one pitch to hit just 24 hours later.
The bottom line, however: 500 is a big number. And to have almost 500 fans on the page for this blog is pretty neat. Thank you all for reading and I hope it continues to grow!
We did it…I…I really don’t even know what to say. I am truly speechless.
The Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-3 in Game Six of the World Series to capture their 27th World Championship. A wonderful, strong, winning season capped off with a World Title in the first year in our new ballpark.
What a wonderful, wonderful feeling. A feeling we all haven’t had since 2000.
I had been saying from the beginning of the fall classic that the Yankees were probably going to win in six games. Now, I don’t usually like to make predictions, as I have said before, but that was my best guess: Yankees in six.
But let me tell you all a true, almost scary story before Game Six.
I am a senior in College at this point in my life, obviously studying journalism. I attended my sports reporting class last night, mostly discussing the World Series with my fellow students and my professor. Well, after an interesting discussion, class ended.
I got in my car and made my way home to watch the World Series. As I’m driving on the highway, I notice a school bus in front of me. As most of you may or may not remember, all school buses are numbered, all numbers on the back of the bus.
Of all the numbers that there could’ve been, what number was the bus? 27. I am not lying and I am dead serious. 27, right in front of me for quite a few miles up the Taconic State Parkway in New York.
Coincidence? I didn’t think so. This eerie feeling came over me as I was driving; chills went up and down my spine. One thought popped into my mind: “The Yankees are going to do it. I know it. There’s a reason that bus was in front of me.”
When I got home, I just smiled and laughed. The game hadn’t even started yet, but I knew what was going to happen; maybe not the score, maybe not every specific detail, but I swear to God I KNEW the Yankees were NOT losing this game!!!
So eventually the game began and…well…I guess the only way to describe it was the “Hideki Matsui Hitting Show.”
Godzilla knocked in six RBIs in game six, two of which came on a two-run homer in the bottom of the second off the Yankees’ favorite son Pedro Martinez. It was Matsui’s third home run in the World Series and second that came off Martinez.
But Matsui was just getting warmed up.
In the next inning, Godzilla singled to knock in Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon and in the fifth he doubled to score Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. No one could get Matsui out, it seemed.
And for his efforts in this entire World Series, Matsui was named Most Valuable Player. He deserved it. Three Homers, a .747 batting average, and six RBIs in the clinching game. Yes, I’d say that’s MVP worthy. Domo Arigato, Mr. Matsui!
Congrats Godzilla! (Remember, he also won another prestigious award–the Yankee Yapping Comeback Player of the Year Award!)
Teixeira was responsible for the only other RBI not registered by Matsui, as he singled in the fifth to score Jeter.
And who else was on the mound to close it out but Andy Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history. Everyone was concerned because Pettitte was pitching on three days rest for this first time since 2006, but those concerns were not well-founded. To be honest, I couldn’t even tell the difference.
The veteran lefty pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits. He walked five and struck out three. His line may not have indicated an overly impressive start, but I think he did great and gave the Bronx Bombers a good chance to win.
And they did, like they usually always do when he pitches. I mean, Pettitte was the winning pitcher when they’ve clinched the ALDS and ALCS this year…what’s one more?
The Phillies scored two of their three runs on an opposite-field homer run by Ryan Howard in the top of the sixth, his first home run in the World Series.
Sorry to say, but too little, too late, Howard.
Jimmy Rollins, who erroneously predicted the Phillies to win the fall classic in five games (and is probably eating his words right now) knocked in the Phillies’ first run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third.
Well, thanks to some solid bullpen help from Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte, the Yankees bridged the gap to Mariano Rivera, who came in to get five outs.
Did he get all five of them? Of course he did! And the Yankees are Champs again!!!
The team dog pile on the infield, a victory lap around the field proudly waving the 2009 Championship flag, and hoisting the Championship Trophy. Doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
I laughed. I cried. I jumped up and down. My heart overjoyed, my fists pumping in the air. I got that feeling; the feeling that comes over a man when he gets exactly what he desires. My phone was blowing up; calls, texts, people clicking the like button on my Facebook status, which read:
A.J. Martelli is in tears of joy :’) THE YANKEES ARE KINGS OF BASEBALL!!!! 27!!!!! “WEEEEEE AREE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND! WE’LL KEEP ON FIGHTIN’ TILL THE END! NO TIME FOR LOSERS, ‘CAUSE WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS…OF THE WORLD!!!” 2009 was the Year of the Pinstripes. In a perfect world we’d ALL be Yankees! I am so proud of my team. SO proud. It was destiNYY.
Stephen, an old friend of mine from grade school, posted as his status:
“Time for every person in New York to jump on the Yankee bandwagon and say ‘my boys did it.’ I think the only person who has any right to say anything about it is A.J. Martelli. He posts about every game because he lives in blue and white. I hope he gets to see this.”
Oh, I did see it. And it made me feel great, because it is true. Then I turned to my 26 Time World Series jacket, which is now obselete. “Guess I’ll need a new one,” I said with a laugh.
What a way to end this year!
Another thing I’d like to point out was the date. It was on Nov. 4, 2001 that the Yankees’ World Series magic vanished in the Arizona desert. The last night of the Yankee Dynasty of the late ’90s. Since that night, the Yanks had not won a World Title.
That is of course until Nov. 4, 2009. Perhaps the first night of the new Yankee Dynasty.
There was something strange about this night. Seeing that bus with 27 on it, watching Matsui practically single-handedly crush the Phillies’ dreams of repeating as Champions, and winning the title back on the same exact date we lost it nine years ago.
And even the fact that 2009 was the new Yankee Stadium’s first year, and when the original Stadium opened back in 1923, the Yankees won the World Series for the first time.
Not to mention, I checked the Yankee Yapping Facebook fan page to update the status…and at the time the Yankees won the Championship, there were precisely 400…and 27 fans.
Forces were at work, I believe that. This night happened for a reason. There ARE baseball gods and they were working tonight.
It has been a remarkable year; the year of the Yankees. 103 wins during the regular season, 114 overall…this was the only way to end it.
I would like to thank everyone who read my blog, there will be plenty more entries over the off-season, I promise you that. For right now, I would like everyone to ENJOY this!!! A World Series victory was the goal and our team reached it.
I’d also like to thank the 2009 Yankees for the season of a lifetime. I’m sure there will be many people (myself included) who will write about the ’09 Yankees. They are certainly a group of special players, and at one time (in June) I even described them as a “group of warriors that never quit.”
They are warriors and they never did quit. They took it all the way.
It’s been one hell of a ride, my friends. Thanks to all!
GO YANKEES!!! We made it to 27 and victory is ours!!!
I am beginning to think the Yankees just cannot be beaten in a close, late-game situation.
The Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-4 in the ninth inning of game four of the World Series Sunday night with a miraculous, two-out rally.
The word of the 2009 postseason was once again used by me: “WOW.”
With the game knotted at four and two outs in the top half of the ninth, Johnny Damon worked a nine-pitch at-bat against Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge, ending in a two-out single by the Yankees’ left fielder. Damon promptly stole second base and with all his wits about him, took third.
With Mark Teixeira batting and the Phillies playing the infield over-shift, nobody was covering third base. After swiping second, Damon just got up and took third while he was at it.
Then Teixeira was hit with a pitch, bringing up the new “Mr. October,” Alex Rodriguez.
Now I have to admit, my heart was racing at this point. When I was watching, I thought I would need resuscitation after watching what was about to happen. A-Rod in another clutch situation…what was going to happen?
Rodriguez delivered, that’s what happened. The Yankee third baseman came up with a double to score Damon, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead.
Jorge Posada came up next with Teixeira on third and A-Rod on second, hitting a two-run single to give the Bronx Bombers their seven runs and pad the Yankee lead. Posada also had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, which gave him a total of three RBIs in the game.
I have to give Damon all the credit in the world; to work the count and come up with a hit in that pressurized situation with the crowd rocking the way it was, and on top of that steal two bases at once and then score–that was such brilliance. He certainly took charge of the situation and showcased the mental facet of his game.
Not to mention he went 3-for-5 on the night with a double in the first and an RBI single in the top of the fifth. Damon came up and knocked in Melky Cabrera, which gave the Yanks a 4-2 lead.
Derek Jeter also knocked in a run with an RBI single in the fifth that broke the 2-2 tie coming into the frame.
CC Sabathia took the mound for the Yankees tonight, pitching on three days rest for the second time this postseason. The big man pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out six.
I have to give Sabathia credit; he tossed a quality start. But he has clearly seemed a bit shaken in the World Series. His body language and his demeanor (to me) indicate that he might have been a little shaken these past two starts on the stage of the World Series. His numbers are still good, but he looks a little off. It’s not physical (again, to me) it could be mental.
Maybe it’s just Chase Utley, who took Sabathia deep for a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. That was Utley’s third World Series homer, and he has smacked all three of his homers off Sabathia.
Utley also doubled in the bottom of the first, a hit that scored Shane Victorino to put the Phillies on the board for the first time in the game.
It seems Utley has Sabathia’s number. That’s pretty much a fact at this point.
Pedro Feliz provided the rest of the offense for the Phils in game four. Not only did Feliz tie the game in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to score Ryan Howard, he homered off Joba Chamberlain to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Well, I probably shouldn’t say Feliz knocked Howard in to tie the game in the fourth. Replay showed that Howard never even touched home plate, yet the umpire called him safe. I guess we’re just looking the other way on that one…
Utley and Feliz saw some meatballs and took advantage. But I guess it didn’t matter; the Yankees were more clutch and got the job done. Mariano Rivera came in and saved the day yet again, Yankees win.
It was another nail-biter, another ninth inning win. But I’ll take it; Yankees up, 3-1.
I also want to point out how ridiculous the Phillies have been pitching to A-Rod. In the first inning, Rodriguez was hit with a pitch, the third time in the last two games he’s been beaned. The benches were warned after the HBP, but nothing came of it.
They may have hit A-Rod in the first…but he hit back in the ninth.
Rodriguez now has 15 RBIs this postseason, which ties the Yankees’ single postseason record. A-Rod is knotted with Scott Brosius in 1998 and Bernie Williams in 1996. Remember that Rodriguez is also tied with Williams for most home runs in a single postseason with six.
Facing elimination, Cliff Lee will hope the keep the Phillies alive tonight. He was dominant in game one at Yankee Stadium, tossing all nine innings without allowing an earned run.
Lee will face A.J. Burnett, who was just as dominant in game two. Burnett tossed seven innings and gave up only one earned run on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Burnett will be throwing on three days rest for the fifth time in his career. On three days rest, Burnett’s numbers are stellar. He is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA on short rest, so we’ll see how he responds following that amazing outing in game two.
Honestly, if Burnett can go out there and do anything close to what he did in game two and if he can capture the win in the clinching game…I hate to even make picks or even predict things (because I am usually wrong) but he would make a strong case for the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.
I have to say, at this moment it would be Rivera; if the Series ended tonight, I think Mo would be the MVP. But if Burnett can mimic what he did in game two, he certainly has a chance at the award. He won a pivotal game two–a game the Yankees said they needed to win after losing game one the way they did.
And if Burnett wins the final game…well, the work and evidence of an MVP is right there.
But like I said, I’m not calling it; I don’t make predictions. I can’t even predict the weather, much less which player may or may not win the MVP of the World Series!
Well guys, the Yankees are 27 outs away from their 27th World Series Title. It’s almost sad to see this season end, but we’re not done yet. ONE MORE WIN and we are World Champions!!!
I’ll be back after game five with some highlights, thoughts, and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it….anywhere.”
Well, it may not have been as dramatic as 2003, when Aaron Boone slaughtered the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game Seven of the American League Championship Series to beat the Red Sox, but I’ll take it.
Last night, the New York Yankees clinched the American League pennant by defeating the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 in Game Six of the ALCS and will now make their 40th World Series appearance.
For the first time in six years, we Yankee fans know what it’s like to be going to the fall classic. And it feels WONDERFUL!
As for ALCS Game Six…
Well, Yanks’ starter Andy Pettitte looked awesome in the first two innings, but ran into some trouble in the top of the third. Ex-Yankee Bobby Abreu knocked in the Angels’ first run in the frame with an RBI single to give the Halos a quick, 1-0 lead.
I loved Abreu when he was a Yankee (and I still love him) for that reason; in a key situation when the team needed a run, he could always deliver. And that hasn’t changed. Abreu is still one of the best timely hitters in the league and he showed it in the third inning of Game Six.
He could never play the wall very well, but I still think Abreu was probably the best right fielder the Yankees had since Paul O’Neill. I still love you, Bobby.
The Angels’ 1-0 lead didn’t last very long as the Yankees came storming back in the bottom of the fourth. (Now to be honest, I didn’t think the game was moving along nicely and up until the fourth really was not a good game. I actually turned the Giants/Cardinals game on for a little while (which didn’t end well) but eventually made my way back to the Yankees)
The Yankees had been leaving runners on base through the first three innings, but finally stopped it and broke through. With the bases loaded, Johnny Damon pounded out a two-run single to put the Yanks’ ahead.
Later in the frame, Alex Rodriguez drew a bases-loaded walk to score Derek Jeter, giving the Yankees a 3-1 cushion.
Pettitte cruised throughout the rest of the game, finishing the night with a quality start: 6 1/3 innings, one earned run on seven hits, a walk, and six strikeouts. Typical for Pettitte, who is probably the Yankees’ best big-game pitcher. He has given the Yankees length and quality in each of his three postseason starts.
Joba Chamberlain also lent a hand, tossing 2/3 of an inning after Pettitte departed without allowing a run. I have to say, Chamberlain has not been bad this postseason, save for Game Three when he gave up the go-ahead run, but other than that, he has been solid.
Joe Girardi was not messing around, however; in the eighth inning, he called on Mariano Rivera to get a six out save. In my opinion, it was probably the best thing to do. There might be some fans that disagree, but a two-run lead against the Angels in an elimination game…he had to go to Mo.
Girardi had taken so much heat for the pitching decisions he made in games three and five (three when he took David Robertson out for Alfredo Aceves; five when he left A.J. Burnett in after a leadoff single in the seventh inning with a two-run lead) so really he had to do it.
The Sandman actually scuffled a little bit in the eighth, much to my surprise. Rivera gave up a run on an RBI by Vladimir Guerrero, making it 3-2 in the middle of the eighth.
But some costly errors by the Angels (Howie Kendrick dropped a ball on a bunt by Nick Swisher and Scott Kazmir lobbed the ball over the head of Kendrick on yet another bunt by Melky Cabrera) allowed the Yanks to plate three more runs, holding a 5-2 lead over the Angels going into the top of the ninth.
Down by three runs, top of the ninth, facing Rivera…you pretty much do not stand a chance. See you next year, Angels.
Rivera mowed down the Halos in the ninth and the Yankees celebrated their 40th pennant. The happiest feeling a team and their fans can have, other than winning the World Series.
Champagne spraying, glee on the faces of the Yankees, happiness, and a pennant. A great way to end the ALCS.
The ALCS at a Glance
The Yankees’ 2009 ALCS win marks the 40th time they have won the pennant. The Yankees have made it to the World Series more than any other team in baseball. The Dodgers have the second-most World Series appearances, reaching the fall classic 21 times.
With their ALCS win, the Yankees have finally gotten past the Angels, who had beaten and eliminated them in the playoffs twice before (2002 and 2005–both of those were in the ALDS, however)
Andy Pettitte captured his 16th playoff victory in Game Six. He is now the all-time postseason wins leader, breaking the tie of 15 with John Smoltz.
Pettitte also has the most playoff innings pitched, tossing a mind-boggling 237 1/3 innings. Smoltz is also second to Pettitte on that list with 209 innings pitched.
With the Game Six win, Pettitte has now pitched in five games which have given the Yankees a postseason series victory. That sets a new record and he is of course in first place in postseason wins (16) starts (38) and innings (237 1/3)
CC Sabathia won the ALCS Most Valuable Player Award for his record of 2-0, ERA of 1.13 and his 12 strikeouts in the 16 innings he pitched in the final round before the World Series.
The Yankee ace only allowed nine hits over those 16 innings pitched and just three walks. The Bronx Bombers have won all three of Sabathia’s playoff starts.
Sabathia is the first MVP of the ALCS since Mariano Rivera, who earned the honor in 2003. Game Six winning pitcher (Pettitte) won the award in 2001.
The last time the Yankees won a Game Six of a championship series was in 2000 when they defeated the Seattle Mariners in Game Six of the ALCS.
The Angels committed nine errors in the ALCS. The Yankees committed three.
The Yankees outscored the Angels 33-19 in the championship round.
Alex Rodriguez had nine hits in the ALCS, including three home runs. Overall this postseason, he has 14 hits, five homers, and 12 RBIs.
This will be Rodriguez’s first career World Series appearance.
Rivera now has 37 career postseason saves, which is of course the most by any closer all-time. (I think it’s safe to say Mo has put the record so far out of reach no one is going to be able to look up at it, let alone break it!)
Rivera did give up a run in the eighth inning of Game Six–that marked the first time he has given up a postseason run at home since the 2000 World Series.
Well, Yankee fans. It has been an incredible season. From steroid scandals and spring training to the 22-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians in April; from walk-off wins, winning streaks, and pies in the face all the way through the glorious, victorious summer months.
The Yankees turned the dog days into days where the beat other teams like dogs.
From winning the AL East in front of the Red Sox at home to winning the AL Pennant in front the Angels at home. It has been a wild ride.
And it’s not over yet!
The Phillies present a huge challenge to the Yankees in the World Series. They are the best-of-the-best in the National League and they certainly aren’t a pushover. They have a potent lineup, with players like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth.
It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully it will be fun.
The Yankees did play the Phillies during inter-league play this year, losing two out of three to their World Series opponents May 22-24.
The Phils beat the Yanks 7-3 in the first game, but the Yankees edged them in game two with a dramatic comeback and a 5-4 walk-off win. Game three belonged to the Phillies, as they won 4-3, but the Yanks put up a good fight in that game; they tied the score when it looked like they had no chance.
The last time the Yankees and Phillies met in the World Series, the year was 1950. The outcome? The Yankees swept the Phillies in four games.
While I don’t think it will be a clean sweep in 2009, I have a good feeling the Yankees will win. I could picture the Yankees accomplishing something similar to what they did in the ALCS; possibly winning it all in six games.
The Yankees have a totally different team this year than they did the last time they reached the World Series in 2003. In fact, most of the players from the ’03 squad are gone and some are even retired!
The 2003 ALCS was our World Series that year. I really think the Yankees were so exhausted from those marathon games (and maybe the physicality and fight) with Boston and having the ALCS go to seven games that they didn’t stand a chance in World Series vs. the Florida Marlins.
The pitchers were worn out, the hitters were flat–2003 was not our year. But 2009…well, it could very well be our year, no questions asked.
Whatever the case, things are looking up on this day and it is a beautiful day to be a Yankee fan. I am so proud and my heart is overjoyed that my team has reached the World Series and we may very well be the last team standing…
I will be back after Game One of the World Series with some thoughts, highlights and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!
By the way: Let’s do some real damage…! (No Phanatics were hurt in the making of this blog)